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Blob's Park owner to take over Gunning's space in Hanover

Dining and DrinkingRestaurantsRestaurant and Catering IndustryDance

The owner of Blob's Park, the storied 81-year-old Jessup beer garden that played its last polka in March, will take over the Hanover restaurant space that was Gunning's Seafood Restaurant.

Max Eggerl, whose great uncle Max Blob founded Blob's Park, will open a restaurant named The Bavarian Brauhaus this summer following renovations to the restaurant space on Parkway Drive.

The Bavarian Brauhaus will feature a menu of German food in a fine-dining atmosphere, Eggerl said. The bar area is being redone to create a rathskeller-like atmosphere.

Gunning's Seafood Restaurant closed without fanfare. It was operated by the members of the family who had operated the original Gunning's Crab House on South Hanover Street in Brooklyn.

The original Gunning's opened in 1969 and was celebrated for its old-fashioned atmosphere and traditional cuisine, even earning acclaim from Esquire magazine for serving the world's best crab cake.

But the owners never seemed to recover from financial problems that began with a fire that destroyed a second Gunning's restaurant in Ocean City.

In 1993, the Brooklyn property was foreclosed on and sold at auction. The Gunning family relocated their business to Hanover, even as new owners operated the original location, keeping the name Gunning's Crab House. For years, there was lingering confusion about which was the "real Gunning's" -- the one in the original location, or the one operated by the Gunning family in Hanover. The Gunning's in Brooklyn closed several years ago.

The Gunning family could not be reached for comment about the reasons for the Hanover closing. In March 2013, a U.S. District court ordered the restaurant and its owner, Edward Gunning Jr., to pay more than $310,000 in unpaid federal employment taxes.

The new Bavarian Brauhaus will have a small stage for occasional live entertainment, but, unlike at Blob's Park, there won't be polka dancing at The Bavarian Bauhaus. 

"There definitely won't be dancing, there's not enough room," Eggerl said. "This is a totally new venture with a completely different slant."

Eggerl said he hopes to have the Bavarian Brauhaus open by Aug. 1.

"I’m really excited about opening,” Eggerl said.  “It keeps the family restaurant business alive." 

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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